ATLANTIC CITY — “We’re loud, we’re proud … we’re P-A-S!”
Miss America Savvy Shields walked Monday morning into the Pennsylvania Avenue School to cheers and to Flo Rida’s “Welcome to My House” as the crowd of pre-K through fourth-grade students roared at the sight of her crown.
Many of the students donned crowns themselves especially for the occasion.
As Shields put it, she couldn’t have ever expected such a warm welcome.
“I feel so welcomed and loved on,” she said. “I’m amazed at how well behaved and kind everyone is.”
Students Yawar Khan and Meredith Perez read poems for Shields. Surrounded by a cafeteria of yellow and blue, the school colors, the cheerleading team fittingly performed a routine to Beyonce’s “Who Run the World (Girls).” Their version ended on a chant fitting in “Savvy” and “Shields.”
But Shields had a mission among the fun: spreading awareness about her platform, “eat better, live better.”
“I’ve been dancing since I was three years old and I always loved math,” Shields told the students. “I’d always get math books for Christmas.”
To get the students thinking about healthy choices, she boiled her platform down to examples her audience could easily understand.
“Think about a caveman. Would a caveman recognize an Oreo?” she said.
Dozens of young voices shouted “no” as Shields continued her message.
“How about a banana?” she said. “Use the rainbow. Think of your deep greens and reds when choosing your food.”
The visit was prompted by hard work. Each year, the Miss America Organization asks schools to collects cans and nonperishable food items to be donated to a local food pantry. The students won the competition with more than 3,000 items and were rewarded with Shields’ visit.
“Our staff and students were extremely excited today,” said Dr. La’Quetta Small, principal of Pennsylvania Avenue School. “They met their goal. We were honored to support this worthy cause.”
Shields received royal treatment as she was handed a bouquet from faculty. Shields toured the school and was taken to a display featuring her photos, signatures from students and faculty and some of her favorite treats — Almond Joys and dried fruit.
Shields pointed out all of the faculty and staff wearing black and white for the occasion — her favorite colors.
Shields also spoke to another round of students in grades five to eight.
“For them, I give more of the message about labels. If you can’t read it, don’t eat it,” she said.
As Shields sent students off, she urged them to be friendly.
“Always remember to be kind and respectful,” Shields said. “I love you all so much.”